Midwives credited for infant mortality drop in Cambodia

Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) President Bun Rany marks International Midwives’ Day on April 28. CRC

The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) has lauded midwives across the Kingdom for their efforts in decreasing maternal and infant mortality rates in the last decade, according to a message released by its president, First Lady Bun Rany Hun Sen.

She issued the message to commemorate the National Day of the Midwife on May 5, which will be held under the theme “Investing in midwives to strengthen the primary health care system and provide a pathway to universal health coverage”.

“We celebrate the National Day of the Midwife to reflect on the progress and achievement of the Ministry of Health, in its efforts to mobilise Cambodian midwives who survived the Democratic Kampuchea Regime,” she said, referring to the Khmer Rouge reign of terror.

“We applaud these midwives’ efforts to provide postpartum care for women and their newborns, which have led to the standard of care steadily improving, and are the reason for the good results we have arrived at today,” she said.

Bun Rany said the Cambodian Midwives Association and Cambodian Midwife Council have been active in providing orientation for midwives, as well as protecting the profession and supporting universities and institutions in providing professional training in midwifery.

She noted that as a result, the maternal mortality rate has fallen from 170 per 100,000 babies in 2014 to 141 in 2019.

Childbirth with the help of skilled medical workers had increased from 85 per cent in 2016 to 89 per cent in 2020, with delivery at health facilities increasing from 80 to 89 per cent in the same period.

Srey Sin of the Kampong Thom provincial Health Department, told The Post that the level of understanding about pregnancy and labour among women, as well as the rate of pregnancy consultation at health facilities, have increased in recent years.

“Due to awareness raising about the issue and the upgraded quality of delivery services in health facilities at the community level, there are hardly any more deliveries through traditional midwives. This is because pregnant women trust skilled midwives who can ensure their safety,” he said .

Sin credited the fall of infant and maternal death rates to the government’s provision of financial support for families.

He noted that pregnant women with IDPoor cards receive financial support from the government, which continues until their children reach the age of two. “When they have their post-delivery vaccinations, they will receive the money from the government,” he said.

Bun Rany also appealed to medical nurses to provide consultation and education to adolescents when they reach reproductive age in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, especially from mother to children.

“I appeal to all pregnant women to get their health checked according to the timetable set by their medical nurses, and to deliver their baby at health centres and referral hospitals. I also urge you to monitor your health after giving birth,

“Please bring your child to get vaccinated against the 11 kinds of disease stated in the health booklet and bring your child to the nearest hospital should they have fever, breathing problems or other health issues,” she said in her letter.

Bun Rany said the CRC continues to work actively with the health ministry to educate the public through the media, and share important messages about reproductive health, pregnancy and the health of mothers and children.

The messages have focused on the benefits of breastfeeding and providing nutritious food to children, as well as the prevention of HIV/AIDS and syphilis.

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